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18 June 2007

Vanek Situation Creates Tense Times in Buffalo

Reports are starting to filter out of Canada and Philadelphia that the Flyers intend to make a sizable offer sheet to Buffalo Sabres restricted free agent Thomas Vanek. Vanek, who led the NHL in plus-minus, led the Sabres in goals with 43 and was named a Second Team NHL All-Star. Now in the big scheme of things, a player with those type of credentials deserves that type of money. Unfortunately, this type of contract concern is gigantic when it comes to a 23 year-old forward who is the cornerstone of the Sabres future. Already saddled with the likely enormous demands of free agent co-captains Danny Briere and Chris Drury the conventional wisdom is that Vanel would get mid-range money for 4 years and then score big as an unrestricted free agent in his next contract.

The reality appears to be that instead of having "affordable" young stars for two contracts team will have to pay top dollar almost immediately. This seems counter intuitive to what people expected from the Salary Cap era. It is quite possible that the Salary Cap era could end up being the death of small markets as opposed to their saving grace.

In my estimation, this has changed the entire dynamic of the Sabres off-season. I believe that Vanek has to be priority one. If they lose him it sets the franchise back years. Sure losing Briere, Drury or both would be awful, but losing Vanek would be devastating, he is that good.

I imagine teams all over will be watching this situation very closely and more offer sheets to other young stars could follow.

3 fanatics have replied:

Bleu, Blanc et Rouge said...

Then why do "restricted" Fa's exist, if GM's can do this?

Seriously, think about it.

The Ghost said...

I think It is the typical deluded management thinking. I think they think of it like a deterrent effect. If you sign mine i'll sign yours. The problem is, and Philly just demonstarted this with Naashville, is that Buffalo and Nash cant match finacial guns with Philly.

Road Apples said...

I've "heard" this too, but where did it really originate? I think you have to take rumours like this with a grain of salt.

However after yesterday's weird signings the Flyers now have >$42 million committed to the Cap next year - and that's *before* signing their own FA's (Joni Pitkanen, Robert Esche...HAHAHA) - I can't see them making a monstrous offer to Vanek or anybody.

Of course, nobody knows what the *$@# the Cap will even BE next year, so it's all guesswork.

Friggin' NHL.

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